By: Kasey Woo
Tina Taleb is a recent UC Berkeley graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, who also earned a certificate of design from the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation. She found out about the CITRIS Invention Lab when she was conducting research with CITRIS Invention Lab Director Eric Paulos and Cesar Torres, and although her time as a superuser was only a semester, she shared her fondest memories of how she valued the mentorship from CITRIS Invention Lab Managers Chris Myers and Kuan-Ju Wu.
“A memorable project was the strandbeest that I actually donated to the Invention Lab. The inspiration came from my dad sending me a video of the actual original strandbeest. And then I showed it to Chris Myers. He said it’s kind of ambitious, but I was very determined. So I started doing multiple prototypes. I went over five or six different prototypes until I was comfortable about making it throughout the whole process. I always used wood to make it, and for the joints, I used brass nuts and bolts.”
“The CITRIS Invention Lab kind of made me doubt if I really want to do EECS anymore. Hands-on work is so much fun and exciting for me. Now I want to do something that combines design skills with my engineering background. Design skills basically widened my vision on what I can actually do and how far I can go.
“I really like the way that Chris Myers approaches his teaching and handling students’ questions – very specific, straightforward, to the point. Kuan-Ju has a more laid-back approach and is very accessible – he really helps you get through things. They both have a lot of passion for education and design and really emphasize an artistic approach to design and engineering as well. That’s something that people usually miss out on – how art and technology can be hand in hand, helping each other. You can make things more beautiful with this approach.
“My hope is that I can use all these technical and engineering skills for some educational or humanitarian cause. For example, one of my projects was studying how we can use technology to help people learn physical tasks easier. The human-computer interaction aspect of computer science is what I’m mostly interested in. There’s big potential for using technology for better causes.”
Photo Credit: photo of Tina Taleb by Kuan-Ju Wu and photos of the strandbeest project by Chris Myers
The Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) and the Banatao Institute drive interdisciplinary innovation for social good with faculty researchers and students from four University of California campuses – Berkeley, Davis, Merced, and Santa Cruz – along with public and private partners.
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